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A list ahead of the challenge

Old 06-24-2015, 03:31 AM
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A list ahead of the challenge

Gotta spend some time reviewing my own past as I move toward the weekend knowing I'll be challenged in my sobriety. Thought I may as well share and seek support as I do.

Here are some of the pieces of evidence that come from my own life, demonstrating that alcohol consumes me and negatively impacts my life.

I've woken to countless terrible hangovers, emerging from the scary haze of a blackout, not knowing what happened or how I got where I was.

I have called in sick to work more times than I can recall, fought my way through a day of terrible nausea and vomiting, filled with self loathing... Only to be drinking again that night.

I've felt pains in my abdomen... Liver? Pancreas? Digestive distress and upset that I am sure were signs of progressive damage to my body from excess alcohol poisoning for many years.

I have been a cheater. A liar. An adulterer. I have hurt people I loved and I have had to live in shame and regret and despair over the person I was. Alcohol fueled these things and made them all somehow acceptable at the time. Then alcohol numbed the emotional impact and helped blot out the feelings. Then alcohol led me to blot out the integrity and remorse and turned me into a twisted shadow of my true self.

I have been arrested, jailed, nearly lost all that is most important to me - each time due to alcohol. I have vomited on myself, urinated on myself, even defecated on myself... On the carpet, even in hotel bedside drawers - thinking in blackout it was the toilet. I have shamefully hidden and cleaned up these shocking disasters.... And been drinking again the same day.

I have threatened the safety of others, even the lives of others. I have thankfully, gratefully been blessed to have somehow avoided killing anyone.

I have woken up in jail cells alongside gang members and violent criminals.

I have destroyed property, destroyed hearts, destroyed my reputation and my own self esteem.

I have wasted great swaths of this gift of life.... Over the course of 25+ years of drinking I have blotted out, poisoned, jailed, blacked out, ruined and generally just tossed in the trash many many precious moments of a gifted lifetime that I can never get back.

These and more, are all evidence from my own experience that show me clearly alcohol is an evil in my life. In sobriety, NONE of these has happened. In sobriety, I have never encountered these terrible consequences. In sobriety, I am free.... But each time I have chosen to drink, eventually, these are the dark places I have wound up.

And it only ever got progressively worse. Never better.

Swirling thoughts of AV temptation and 'fitting in' will probably continue as I face into this weekend and consider the feelings that will arise around many friends who still drink hard and party strong.... But my own evidence, my own experience, is clear.

I choose sobriety because it brings me so much greater life.

But that is for another list, coming soon.
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Old 06-24-2015, 05:22 AM
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Very powerful post. I have to keep thinking about what my life was like as well to keep the AV away.
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Old 06-24-2015, 05:36 AM
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Thank you Free Owl!
That was my shot of medicine for the day��
Excellent post.
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Old 06-24-2015, 05:49 AM
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Thank you FreeOwl for posting this.
Great reminder how much sobriety is worth it & life clean is liberating.
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Old 06-24-2015, 07:05 AM
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Sometimes we overly complicate things. We make the moment bigger than it is, or we dismiss it as a trivial matter. (Many of us are, after all, people of extremes.) The message then gets lost in all our planning or lack of planning. This is how I lived when I was a young man, both while I was drinking, and continuing in early sobriety.

You're going to an event where alcohol is readily available, and with people who'll be drinking. Some are anticipated to drink in excess. Regardless of who will be in attendance, your past associations with them, their credentials and their accomplishments, you know that you cannot drink safely.

When I attend any event where alcohol is served, and which is true of any celebration of its kind, I don't drink, and I'm prepared to do whatever is necessary to protect my sobriety. I've been doing this since very early on for the two times I've gotten sober, although I simply avoided events where alcohol was served for a couple of years since I've been back.

I don't believe that I've uncovered the great mystery of staying sober. Nor do I believe that my "plan" is unique to me or to a select few. What I know is that it has worked with a success rate of one-hundred percent.
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Old 06-24-2015, 08:14 AM
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Hi FreeOwl.

I read your earlier post as well about this upcoming party... Now reading this, you know what came to mind first? That you are very mindful of the challenge, which is great, but you also seem very concerned and if I can say that, a bit fearful. I was thinking, if I felt this way that I needed to revoke all the past disasters and set them against my current excitement about an event, I would probably simply skip the event. I don't think there is such a thing that having been sober for X number of months or years, we are automatically supposed to be able to handle any challenge confidently and without concerns. It's a very individual thing, and in general the more old associations with drinking we can expect at a particular event, the higher the risk of giving in to an impulse in ways that cannot be foreseen or predicted.

For me, I have attended numerous events where there was a lot of drinking and alcohol freely accessible in my sobriety, but I only started going to these once I felt no concerns or desire I could detect prior to the event. Never had a problem. Often I just go for an hour or two to say hi and chat a bit, then leave. And I am still very vigilant about events where I know I would face more than just alcohol, something or someone that is strongly linked with my alcoholism from the past. I just attended a conference like that recently, where I met my alcoholic ex and spent days around him after years of no connection. Only one person, but the biggest trigger for me on Earth in more than one ways. I knew without doubt that I would get impulses in that environment, and I made sure I had multiple plans how to handle them in the moment. It was still quite challenging a few times, to tell you the truth -- I totally felt my neurotransmitters going wild in waves, and some of the waves were almost as strong as my cravings just after getting sober. So I ended up telling him this and asked him not to spend time together 1:1 beyond what was absolutely necessary, and even that in a public place, because I knew it would be the private meeting that could make me lose it impulsively, if anything. And he wanted to talk with me about getting sober and recovery, on top of everything (still drinks).

So what I am trying to suggest is that you measure benefits and potential costs. For example, what would you lose by not going (or only going for a short while) to that gathering if you feel so concerned vs your sobriety that you've worked for so hard? Some momentary pleasures vs living a good life long-term?

If you are going, I would really make sure that I have plans A, B, C and lots of cognitive exercises in case this or that happens unexpectedly, especially in regards to possible situations and people you feel might be triggering. This is how I do it at least. Maybe what I tend to do is an overkill, but it's given good results so I stick with it.

In any case, you are doing the right thing thinking about this a lot and posting. I wish you all the best; I think our sobriety dates are something like one month apart... I really would like us to keep it this way!
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Old 06-24-2015, 09:56 AM
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Thanks haennie. Yes, you're right. I am concerned. I think the big difference here is that these are old friends with whom I partied hard and - unlike work scenarios of similar challenge - it feels more intimidating.

I feel like I will be offered and perhaps even goaded into drinking.... But this may well just be a misguided belief like many such fears in the past have proven to be.

I strongly considered not going, yet a big part of me really wants to be able to go, surf, see my friends, experience the place and the nondrinking goodness it has to offer. Most of ALL, I want to go and to continue experiencing as I have for a year and a half that I need NOT fear. That I need not avoid or skip or choose not to live life.

My concern stems from how loudly my AV immediately began trying to bargain and make excuses and let this be an exception. When that happens, it's a message to me that it's time to kick my sobriety focus back into gear and ensure I'm solid and clear on why I've chosen sobriety as my preferred life.

I don't want to stay sober by avoiding things that I'd actually like to be a part of.

I may wind up finding that this whole event isn't something I wanted to be a part of... Or I may wind up finding that I spent this time being concerned for naught.....

But whatever I learn, I will learn it sober and I will do so because I didn't allow myself to get quietly talked into throwing away my sobriety.

I really appreciate your thoughts. You are very perceptive and helpful on what you've offered. Thank you.
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Old 06-24-2015, 02:06 PM
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Thanks FreeOwl
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Old 06-24-2015, 03:58 PM
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I think, at some point in my recovery, I stopped being afraid that people might not like me if I didn't drink.

After a few more months that become simply people might not like me.

I spent years obsessing over that so that was quite a breakthrough.

The sober you is the real you, FreeOwl. Anyone who doesn't like that is not your friend and not worthy of being your friend.

I'm a non drinker and I'm proud of that. It's a conscious decision of mine to be that person.

The funny thing is now I have more friends & people who like me than ever....

D
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Old 06-24-2015, 05:15 PM
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Thank you, Dee... You're absolutely spot on with that.

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Old 06-24-2015, 05:48 PM
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Hi FreeOwl, I believe takes a lot of courage to admit to such things, but probably felt good to put it out there. Those are some pretty horrible things that alcohol is responsible for. Its not you, its the booze correct? I also believe posts like this one are helpful to others who are on the slippery slope but have not reached that point, but it is something they can look forward to if they do not take action. It is posts like this one that shake me to my core. I've done none of these things, but I'm confident I am capable of it, no doubt. I peed in my laundry basket once thinking is was the toilet, I've drunkenly posted on this site while playing a re-run of my dark years, posting dark thoughts and my crazy juvenile behavior while in my 20's. Thank you for this post.
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